Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eagles defense comes up huge against Steelers, Westbrook injured

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Talk about a completely different game from the Monday Night shootout in Dallas. The Eagles and Steelers play an old fashioned, defense-first football in a low scoring slugfest that the Eagles won 15-6. The Eagles defense was the story of the game, putting a ton of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and shutting down Willie Parker and the Steelers running game. Unfortunately for the Eagles, while they did win the game, they may have lost their best player in the process.

The Steelers offense, considered one of the better in the league, managed only 191 yards through the air and 33 on the ground. The Eagles blitzed constantly, something we didn't see in the Dallas game, and got to the quarterback repeatedly, as they sacked Roethlisberger 8 times, forced him to fumble twice and picked off one of his passes. Roethlisberger was battered all day and even left the game late in the 4th quarter with an injury. On the ground, Willie Parker rushed for a mere 20 yards on 13 carries as the Eagles never let the Steelers get into any kind of rhythm offensively.

The Eagles offense also wasn't able to get too many points on the board, but they put together a few solid drives early in the game to get out to a lead and never looked back. The Eagles moved the ball pretty well all game, but a pair of interceptions and a Tony Hunt fumble kept them from scoring more points.

The Eagles did have a pair of injuries to their two superstars on offense, Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, which helped stifle their attack. McNabb injured his chest late in the first half but returned to the game and looked fine, but Westbrook hurt his ankle early in the game and went to the locker room and never returned. Correll Buckhalter played well in his absence, scoring the only touchdown of the game, but we all know how neutered the Eagles offensive attack can be without Brian Westbrook.

The bottom line for this game is that the Eagles defense, after getting burned repeatedly last week against the Cowboys, stepped up and won the game for the Birds. The Eagles went a long way towards proving they belong in the coversation of who the best team in the league is, especially if they can get a good game from both sides of the ball at some point this season. While we will all nervously wait to see how serious the injury is to Brian Westbrook, Eagles fans should be happy that the Eagles split a pair of games against two of the NFL's elite teams in the Cowboys and Steelers. Looking at their 2-1 record and the teams the get to play the next few weeks, the Eagles are in a solid position. Of course, if Westbrook is out for any period of time, that solid position begins to look pretty shaky.

1 comment:

EnriqueFed said...

Also forgot to mention how well Sav Rocca punted! He kept the Steelers pinned back all game and allowed the Eagles to win the field position battle.